This has been bothering me for a while and I’m finally at a forum where I feel like I might get an answer. I have heard people say “I can hardly wait for summer to get here” and I’ve also heard “I can’t hardly wait” variation.
Which is correct? It seems to me like the double negative of “can’t hardly” is incorrect but I’m unable to specify a clear reason as to why it is.
Is it just grammatically incorrect or does it mean something different than what I’m trying to convey?
The phrase “I can’t hardly wait” is incorrect.
I suspect it is the result of a confusion between:
I can’t wait
I can hardly wait
which are both correct.
I can’t hardly wait
doesn’t make sense: it would mean “I don’t find it hard to wait”, which is probably not what is meant.
Probably adding to the confusion is the 1998 teen movie “Can’t Hardly Wait”. It is possible that the title itself was picked up because the expression is in vogue in American high schools although I did not find any confirmation for this hypothesis.